Substitute House Bill No. 7049

Public Act No. 99-107

An Act Concerning Uniform Certification of Questions of Law.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) This act may be cited as the "Uniform Certification of Questions of Law Act".

Sec. 2. (NEW) As used in this act: (1) "State" means any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(2) "Tribe" means a tribe of Native Americans which is recognized by federal law.

Sec. 3. (NEW) The Supreme Court, on the motion of a party to pending litigation or its own motion, may certify a question of law to the highest court of another state or of a tribe if:

(1) The pending cause involves a question to be decided under the law of the other jurisdiction;

(2) The answer to the question may be determinative of an issue in the pending cause; and

(3) The question is one for which no answer is provided by a controlling appellate decision, constitutional provision or statute of the other jurisdiction.

Sec. 4. (NEW) The Supreme Court may answer a question of law certified to it by a court of the United States or by the highest court of another state or of a tribe, if the answer may be determinative of an issue in pending litigation in the certifying court and if there is no controlling appellate decision, constitutional provision or statute of this state.

Sec. 5. (NEW) The court certifying a question of law to the Supreme Court shall issue a certification order and forward it to the Supreme Court. Before responding to a certified question, the Supreme Court may require the certifying court to deliver all or part of its record to the Supreme Court.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (a) A certification order must contain:

(1) The question of law to be answered;

(2) The facts relevant to the question, showing fully the nature of the controversy out of which the question arose;

(3) That the receiving court may reformulate the question; and

(4) The names and addresses of counsel of record and unrepresented parties.

(b) If the parties cannot agree upon a statement of facts, then the certifying court shall determine the relevant facts and shall state them as a part of its certification order.

Sec. 7. (NEW) The Supreme Court, acting as the receiving court, shall notify the certifying court of acceptance or rejection of the question, and in accordance with notions of comity and fairness, it shall respond to an accepted certified question as soon as practicable.

Sec. 8. (NEW) After the Supreme Court has accepted a certified question, proceedings in the Supreme Court are governed by the rules or statutes governing briefs, arguments and other appellate procedures. Procedures for certification from this state to a receiving court are those provided in the rules and statutes of the receiving forum.

Sec. 9. (NEW) The Supreme Court shall state in a written opinion the law answering the certified question and send a copy of the opinion to the certifying court, counsel of record and parties appearing without counsel.

Sec. 10. (NEW) The Supreme Court may reformulate a question certified to it.

Sec. 11. (NEW) Fees and costs are the same as in civil appeals docketed before the Supreme Court and shall be equally divided between the parties unless otherwise ordered by the certifying court in its order of certification.

Sec. 12. (NEW) If any provision of this act or its application to any person, court or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.

Sec. 13. (NEW) This act shall be construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those jurisdictions that enact it.

Sec. 14. Section 51-199a of the general statutes is repealed.

Sec. 15. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved June 3, 1999